Sunday, August 31, 2008

My day

This post will probably be in bits and pieces.

My day began very early this am when, after waking up from my extended nap at Beth's down in Pearland, I straightened out the bed and tiptoed around their house trying not to wake up everyone at the same time as I was attempting to locate my sunglasses and car keys, etc. and whatall, in the semi-darkness.

I say 'semi-darkness' because there are a number of night light thingees strategically placed throughout their home. Nice!

Their 'babies' (two dogs) were not the least bit fooled, however! In contrast to the last time I visited, I could hear that they were located just beyond the kitchen area behind a closed door ... and yes, I was going to have to go through that area to exit the house and make sure I had locked everything up again behind me.

Every now and again I would say, "Shhh, it's just me!", and they would be quiet. (Not that they were making a whole lot of noise in the first place ... they're little dogs! And just as cute as can be, I might add.)

My problem was that I couldn't remember whether or not I had originally brought my bifocals in with me from the car! I didn't want to lock the house up behind me only to find that I was going to have to call and wake up Beth and then have her re-open everything back up again. I certainly didn't want to do that!!

Another concern was that one (or both) of their babies would 'escape' to other rooms inside or -- worse yet -- outside! (I was going to have to use the outside door twice ... once to go out to the car and see if my bifocals were indeed there [and yes, they were!] ... and, if they were, to open that door yet once again to reset the lock. "Nervis Jervis," I want to tell you, but all was accomplished w/o either baby 'escaping', thank goodness!

[They were 'all over me' with doggie hugs and kisses and didn't want me to leave, actually. Sweet!]

When I got back home, I immediately went to the various tracking charts for Gustav. I then reported same (twice) in the way of comments on the post before last.

For those of you who have not been following either Gustav or Hanna, let me fill you in just a little bit.

Gustav is a major hurricane (now a cat 3 ... was a cat 4, but the decrease in his winds' intensity was expected once he got past a certain point) located in the Gulf of Mexico over extremely warm waters (quite normal, by the way, for this time of year) which serve, more than adequately, to 'feed' and nourish a hurricane's strength.

Initially last night (early this am, to be more precise), I thought that I saw more of a north and easterly trend to his movements.

That does not now appear to be the case. New Orleans is under a mandatory evacuation. Beaumont (TX -- approx. 80 miles east of Houston) is under a mandatory evacuation.

Pardon me a moment while I go back and recheck the most current prognosticative (Is that even a word??) maps ... I just did. Nothing's changed.

I'm really 'all set' on ice and water, etc. I'd like to go out in just a few minutes to get some more fruit from Randall's (specifically, I'll be looking for Bing cherries) and stop by Luby's cafeteria to see what they're offering for takeout today. (Strawberry shortcake is one of my "must haves".)

BTW, if any of you have clicked on the link, make sure that it says "My Tropical Tracker", OK? Have a little patience with this one. It takes maybe a minute or so to fully load, but then it's worth the wait. (AND, you can click the 'refresh' button every ten minutes or so to get a newer download.)

If you're trying to locate 'Houston' here, look at the rectangular 'ZOOM OUT' 'ZOOM IN' box ... ... immediately under the 'N' on 'IN', you will see a capital 'L' (stands for Louisiana, in this case) ... ... immediately under the 'L' for Louisiana, you will see 'usto' (what remains visible of "Houston"). Hope that helps you in re your orientation of what the devil you're looking at!!

Really DO have to get out of here, OK? The Astros are coming on in a little more than half an hour. I'll miss a little bit of the game, but then I'll be home and 'set' before every single station in my immediate universe switches to nonstop Gustav reporting.

I'll add more later.

In particular, before I close THIS initial posting out, however, I'd like to add a comment on the Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy telethon.

According to the "TV Listings" in my area, his telethon is supposed to air for only two hours or so this evening. Can that possibly be correct?!?

I distinctly remember that, for many many MANY years, about the only thing that was broadcast on Labor Day (that was, in my mind, worthwhile viewing) was his telethon.

I think that Jerry Lewis might be terribly ill. I hope that is not the case, but I fear that it is. Whatever will happen to his telethon? Whatever will happen to "His kids"?

I'm back. (Actually, I was back an hour and a half ago, and added several paragraphs to this post, which were all erased when I had to restart the computer. Something went very wrong. Don't know what it was, but it seems to be OK now. Will try this act again, and see what happens this time!)

BTW, Jerry Lewis is NOT 'terribly ill'. He looks better than he has in years, which is certainly wonderful news!

I might decide, by the way, to publish these next paragraphs as I write them. Wouldn't want that to happen again. I really dislike having to do things twice!

A lot of you are unfamiliar with hurricanes and predictions. The two terms are not very compatible. Although Gustav is currently predicted to strike land in Louisiana, until he actually does so all bets are 'off'. Even then, sighs of relief cannot really be taken until he continues on his inland course far enough to where he is so weakened as to be no longer newsworthy.

As soon as I wrote that last little bit, I thought I'd better add a comment or two about Fay. Remember her? Just within the last week or two? She actually made landfall in Florida four (4!) different times. Then, when she finally did make it up to the Carolinas she was still producing quite violent storms.

Does anyone recall my post, "Opening day", published on June 1st, where I wrote about Tropical Storm Allison? I just reread that post, and the link to the Houston Chronicle's extensive coverage of the storm still works just fine if you want to go back and read about it. Allison's name was retired even though she never did reach hurricane strength.

In "Canoeing ... (part two) ...", published March 11th, I wrote briefly about the backlash of a hurricane. We were in Algonquin Provincial Park (southeastern Ontario) during that trip, and if you Google it, you will probably be able to see how far away from the Atlantic Ocean we actually were.

Anyway, the best 'predictions' are really only educated guesses. In my case, it was simply a gut feeling. I will be glad if it is proven that my gut was wrong. I wish there were some way to allow all that massive energy to be equally dispersed without so much destruction and devastation, to bring beneficial rainfall instead. It seems so unfair that New Orleans might be singled out again. I pray that the levees that have been rebuilt will hold.

A couple of things about Gustav bother me ... his forward speed has slowed and there still is no well-defined eye. Both facts are strange, the latter more so than the former.

I know that all of you are concerned about those of us who live on the Gulf Coast. I thought you might be relieved to have some more information about what all has been happening here in the Houston area.

1) We are not in the 'receiving mode' for fleeing refugees that we were during Hurricane Katrina, when we had literally hundreds of thousands temporarily housed in the Astrodome, both convention centers, many apartments as well as private homes, churches, and most of our hotels. Houston was still providing 'temporary' shelter to all of these people when, just a few weeks later, it seemed a certainty that Hurricane Rita (a cat 5 storm) was going to strike Galveston directly and then roar on up Galveston Bay to Houston's east side. It would have been catastrophic, a 'worst case' scenario.

Millions of people panicked and tried to flee at the same time, creating massive traffic jams on all highways leading north, east, and west. Those unfortunate ones who chose to go east went directly into Rita's path. She changed her course almost at the last minute, sparing Houston and Galveston but causing massive damage in Beaumont and points north and western Louisiana.

2) Houston is one of the major staging areas for disaster relief personnel and equipment. Ellington Field, a few miles southeast of Hobby Airport, has been receiving for the past several days US Coast Guard helicopters and other transport from many other states.

3) Reliant Center is housing emergency response personnel (firefighters, paramedics, and the like) from all over as well as search and rescue dogs.

4) Hundreds of buses are at Tully stadium, about nine miles west and north of where I'm sitting, ready at a moment's notice if it appears that Gustav will be moving westward before he decides to make landfall and we need to evacuate quickly.

5) I don't, as a general rule, even consider evacuating. My house sits at 52', which might sound laughable to you, but that's significant when you're talking about a storm surge. I do not live anywhere near a major bayou. Electrical outages and wind damage, of course, would probably be widespread, but I guess I'd rather be here to try and deal with it if it happens.

Well, it's almost 4am on Monday morning. There'll be another update at the top of the hour. I'll listen to that, and then post it here if there is anything significant to tell you. After that, I'm going to hit the pillow.

Nothing new. IF Gustav maintains his present course, then we'll probably start seeing a few days of rainfall here beginning on Tuesday. How long the rains last and how much we'll get is unknown as of this writing. If you followed the very first link towards the beginning of this post, you might have noticed a very large 'cone of uncertainty' in re Gustav's path following landfall. The faster his remnants move through this area, the better we'll like it, I can guarantee you that!

OK. Finis!


Craig Peihopa said...

Lovely post Goldenrod. I have had my eye on Gustav as well, prior to your post and whilst I don't know anyone specific in New Orleans, my heart goes out to them.

Tammy said...

I've looked at the site several times and am wondering what side of Houston are you in? North, South, East, or West?

These poor people in New Orleans.....when is enough enough?

Goldenrod said...

I have made a bunch of additions to this post, Tammy and Craig, in case you're interested in some follow-up comments and information.

Tammy, you've probably forgotten, but in my "Opening day" post (you can link it from the bunch of additions I made to this one), I pointed out exactly where I lived. It's southwest. If you've got the time, follow that link again and you'll have it so that you can 'refresh' your memory banks (like I had to do with that pole-vaulter). :)

Tammy said...

I remember you telling us where you live, but couldn't remember where or which post to find it in. lol

I just read an article on the front page of Yahoo that says it's been down-graded to a 2. ?? I hope so!

Just worried about you!

Goldenrod said...

Yes, Gustav was downgraded to a cat 2 just before he made landfall earlier today.

Lots of new info there, so I did yet one more post updating everything as I understood it.

Luv ya, sweetie! It's nice to know someone cares about you enuf to worry. Right back atcha! :)